Aquaculture

I recently toured an aquaponics operation here in Odiongan, Romblon. The system, designed to sell produce commercially, is an inspiration to my office for potential future developments.
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Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture, growing marine animals such as fish or clams in captivity, and hydroponics, growing plants in water. The advantage is that the system inputs (fish food) yields two crops (ex. tilapia and lettuce) and uses about 1/10th of the water needed to water a standard gardening set up.

Tilapia tank, holding up to 70 fish
Tilapia tank, holding up to 70 fish

The tilapia are grown and harvested for food, while their waste serves as nutrients for the rest of the system.
Nitrification bacteria in the rock beds take the waste from the tilapia and convert it nutrients usable by the plants.
Nitrification bacteria in the rock beds take the waste from the tilapia and convert it nutrients usable by the plants.

Is aquaculture organic? Yes! No fertilizers, hormones or additives are needed. Although Tony, the Canadian operator of this farm, said that monitoring water quality, such as pH, is crucial. If his system is low on calcium, he likes to add an eggshell to be filtered through his rock beds.
Newly planted lettuce
Newly planted lettuce

The roots sit in the nutrient-rich water, while sunlight fuels plant growth.
The roots sit in the nutrient-rich water, while sunlight fuels plant growth.

This system reduces energy needs and can operate in places without soil such as parking lots or schools. We hope to start a future aquaponics system at our provincial fish ponds so that the waste from our tilapia will also be recycled for fish growth.

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One thought on “Aquaculture”

  1. This looks like a successful operation. Organic is good! Expanding to your fish ponds sounds encouraging and ambitious as you always seek to improve.

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